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Carr's points to favourable conditions

Tuesday 8 January 2013 7:00

Agriculture, food and engineering group Carr’s today reported a strong financial performance in the US and UK as conditions worked to its advantage and key investments paid off.

The Carlisle firm said in the 18 weeks to 5 January 2013, sales of its low moisture feed block were up 30% in the US due to the drought that persisted through most of 2012 resulting in poor forage and high demand for feeding supplements.

Poor forage also stimulated demand in the UK for both low and high moisture blocks and sales were also up on last year.

Meanwhile, the group’s retail branch network, increased by three outlets following the acquisition of Laycocks in July 2012, registered a 32% increase in sales during the period.

Dairy feed sales recovered strongly from last year with lower than normal margins given the plight of the dairy farmer.

Fuel sales volumes and profits were up on the corresponding period last year, "reflecting the expanded distribution network".

This follows its Hexham depot opening in August 2011, which the firm said is now establishing a strong presence in its territory, and its new Cockermouth depot which opened in February 2012.

The company said the building of its new mill at Kirkcaldy is progressing well and is on target to be commissioned in September 2013.

In terms of engineering, Wälischmiller - the firm’s remote handling and robotics business in Germany – continues to operate at full capacity, the company said.

Net debt at 1 December 2012 was £16.5m compared to net cash of £0.2m a year ago and net debt of £2.5m at 1 September 2012, the company said. The Group has total banking facilities of approximately £58.5m.